‘Survivor’: 1 Player Smuggled a Forbidden Item In With a Pair of Earrings

Survivor is a popular television show that, for many, completely changed the course of reality television. It is not only one of the longest-running shows on American television but it easily remains as beloved as ever before. Survivor has weathered a number of controversies over the years, and certain elements of the show have had to change, in order to adapt to the ever-evolving television landscape — but the basic format remains the same. After so many years on the air, certain contestants have become legendary, and one contestant, in particular, is known for the daring way that she bucked the show’s rules by sneaking a forbidden item on the island with her. 

Survivor castaways on a beach, carrying torches
Survivor | CBS via Getty Images

When did ‘Survivor’ debut on TV?

Although Survivor is thought of as a uniquely American show, it is actually based on a Swedish television show called Expedition Robinson. Survivor debuted on television in 2000, hosted by the popular entertainment personality Jeff Probst. The show was unlike anything that viewers had ever seen, at the time — the format, featuring a group of contestants who are given the bare essentials necessary for survival before being dropped off in a deserted location, was totally original.

Survivor earned high ratings right out of the gate, and in short order, it began placing on lists of the greatest TV shows of the twentieth century. Part of the show’s appeal is due to the format, and the high production values, but there is certainly a lot to be said for the unique, original people who have earned the designation of “survivor.” 

What are contestants allowed to bring on the island?

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It is no easy feat to make it on Survivor. Contestants must not only deal with warring tensions between each other but battle the elements as they fight for a spot in the final three. To help them along the way, showrunners provide the contestants with only the bare essentials. According to a report by The Travel, contestants on Survivor are given basic things such as birth control, sunscreen, insect repellent, and vital medication.

A few things that contestants are reportedly not allowed to have are toothbrushes, razors, hairbrushes, or combs. Contestants are also strictly prohibited from bringing any weapons with them, or things that could help them to forage for food or construct shelter — the idea being that they must thoroughly fend for themselves in that regard. However, there have been several contestants over the years to buck the rules, including a two-time contestant who often made headlines during her time on the show, both for her habit of quarreling with other contestants and for her outgoing personality. 

‘Survivor’ contestant Peih-Gee Law snuck in a forbidden item

Born in 1978, Peih-Gee Law was a contestant on both Survivor: China and Survivor: Cambodia. The jewelry designer frequently found herself at odds with other contestants, but she was able to use her crafting ability and creative nature to her advantage. In fact, in one memorable episode, Law was able to sneak fishhooks on the show by building them into a pair of beautiful earrings. “I had fishhook earrings. And I had buttons that were made out of flint. I just had fun with it. This is Survivor. You do whatever you can do to get ahead,” Law later recalled to People

These days, Law avoids reality television, but she has parlayed her Survivor success into her jewelry business, and even sells replicas of the earrings that she wore on the show, for any fans who wish to own their own piece of Survivor memorabilia.